An Overview of My Cultivation Journey
(Minghui.org) I have been practicing Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) for over 20 years. I would like to share the story of my cultivation journey and thank Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, for his compassion.
Taking Up the Practice
I had the good fortune to learn Falun Dafa outside China and quit smoking and drinking soon after. Master cleansed my body. Dafa gave me energy and wisdom, which allowed me to make excellent grades and complete both a Masters and a Doctorate degree in just 4 years. I also published 2 monographs and many theses.
I studied the Fa and did the exercises daily with other practitioners. We bought audio equipment and turned the dorm into a Fa study venue. Nothing, not even exams, made us miss our daily Fa study.
After graduation, I went on to do postdoctoral research and continued to live in the international student dorms on campus. We practiced the exercises in groups and studied the Fa every day. We also went out to the parks to practice and teach the exercises. New practitioners joined us every week.
While we were teaching the exercises in a bookstore one time, an onlooker said, “You guys look different from the others. You emit a very strong radiance from your bodies.”
Another time, a teenage girl was learning the Falun Dafa meditation opposite me in the park. She said, “You have a Falun spinning between your palms.”
Sometimes, there were so many practitioners that we had to teach the exercises on an elevated platform so that all the new practitioners could see the exercise movements. Even local newspapers and TV stations came to find out what was going on. Master said,
“Dafa is being spread far and wide. Those who hear about it are looking for it. Those who have obtained it are delighted with it. The number of cultivators is increasing daily and becoming countless.” (“Seeking Discipleship with Teacher” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Being a Good Person
Master teaches that practitioners should be good in all circumstances. In my daily interactions with people, I try to always follow the Dafa principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started its persecution of Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999, I took leave from work to participate in an event outside the United States Capitol, petitioning for an end to the persecution.
I had just graduated at the time and was starting a part-time job in my boss’s laboratory. Two weeks after I had taken leave, my boss gave me a pay raise, and I received the official post-doctorate title after returning to school.
I had many superiors, and they all knew that I practiced Falun Dafa. They were all supportive of me taking leave to attend Fa conferences, Dafa events, and Shen Yun projects.
In order to continue to be supported by my superiors, I needed to start with displaying the demeanor of a Falun Dafa practitioner. Some superiors said that I was different from other Chinese people. Once during a school reunion, one of my classmates said in front of everyone, “I am the first to disagree if anyone says something bad about Falun Dafa. This man is a Falun Dafa practitioner, and none of you can be compared to him.”
I have taken part in many Dafa events and activities over the years, but my superiors have never been concerned about the quality of my work. The principles of Dafa have taught me to always put others first. I always consider whether the other party could handle the workload before assigning tasks, and I reserve the tasks with the heaviest workload for myself. Dafa has given me extraordinary intelligence, which is evident through my efficient and innovative work. I am often selected an exemplary worker, contributor, and innovator of the company.
In 20 years of cultivation I have learned that, even when we contribute just a little bit, Master rewards us with abundance. I have gotten many pay raises, scholarships, and bonuses for both my academic work and job performance. Other than these being a form of encouragement from Master, they are also Dafa resources to use in truth-clarification work.
The Blessing of Cultivating in Dafa
Falun Dafa not only purifies one’s soul and cleanses one’s body but also reduces medical costs in general.
Take me as an example. I have been cultivating Dafa for over 20 years, and I have never taken a day of sick leave. According to United States Department of Labor statistics, an average person in the US took seven to eight days of paid leave in 2015; with four days of actual sick leave on average, excluding the 1.3 days of leave taken due to the illness of a family member.
If a billion people could reduce the average of four days sick leave because they practice Falun Dafa, how much value would that add to the economy? Dafa practitioners are healthy, full of energy, and efficient in general. How much value would one billion practitioners add to the society as a whole?
The steady increase in fees to cover prevention and treatment has become an increasing burden for every nation. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there was a 5.8% increase in medical fees in the US in 2015 alone, reaching as high as $3.2 trillion USD. This represents about 17.8% of America’s total Gross National Product (GNP) or an average of 9990 USD per person.
Before I started practicing Falun Dafa I also sought treatment when I fell sick and was even hospitalized for two months due to tuberculosis and pleurisy. With the exception of getting my teeth cleaned once a year, I have not needed to see a doctor for checkups, medications, injections, or hospitalization since I started practicing Dafa.
If one billion people in the US practiced Falun Dafa, each person would save up to 9000 USD on medical treatment per year, a total of 900 billion USD for the country! This is a huge amount of wealth for any society to have!
Facts prove that cultivating Falun Dafa “…brings numerous benefits and doesn’t do harm to any society.” (“Some Thoughts of Mine” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Master also said,
“When people show the appropriate respect and reverence toward Dafa as it manifests here in this world, they, their race, or their nation will enjoy blessings or honor.” (“On Dafa (Lunyu)” from Zhuan Falun)
Dafa has already bestowed great blessings to countries and regions that have Dafa practitioners. The true sustainable happiness is the blessing of cultivating Dafa.
Promoting Shen Yun in the Workplace
With the wisdom that Dafa has given me, I spoke about Dafa and the persecution and promoted Shen Yun to those in my workplace. Many of my colleagues agreed that Falun Dafa is good, and criticized the persecution. Some have learned the Falun Dafa exercises, while others have begun cultivation.
There were many times when my company required each employee to write a short self-introduction to add to a video collage for presentation at the annual general meeting.
I always wrote: “Hobby: Meditation and volunteering. Sharing: A special meditation keeping me healthy and zero medical records for many years.”
As a result, many people came to me to learn more about this special meditation. From there, I realized that many of my colleagues are still blinded by the lies of the CCP regarding Falun Dafa, so I clarified the facts in this casual atmosphere where they are more likely to accept what they learn. When Western colleagues ask me about my volunteer experience, I introduce them to Shen Yun.
I have used all available opportunities to promote Shen Yun in my company over the years, through portals such as lunch noticeboards, internal websites, and E-newsletters.
The lunch noticeboards are located along the corridors leading to the canteen, so we set up information boards, videos, and brochures about Shun Yun on the tables provided by the company. The company has seven or eight canteens and we promote Shen Yun for one to two days in each canteen. As a result, many supervisors and employees know about Shen Yun.
Since my company also allows employees to create their personal web page within the internal website, for my page, I include information about Shen Yun’s local performances, introduction, pictures and tickets each year. I also asked the editor of my company’s E-newsletter to include a link about Shen Yun in the advertisement column, which will link the users directly to my internal web page. Hence, many of my colleagues have seen my page and even directly contacted me to purchase tickets. The CEO and some supervisors of my company have also watched Shen Yun.
Eliminating Resentment, Letting Go of Self and Quietly Cooperating with Others
In August 2010, I was sent by my company to attend the World Psychiatric Conference held in China, so I took the chance to visit my relatives there too. In 2013, I went to China again when my mother passed away.
I did not truly realize the impact of these two trips to my personal cultivation and to the local cultivation environment. I felt that I would be safe in China as long as I have faith in Master. Sure enough, I did return safely, and even felt pleased and relieved at my supposedly strong righteous mind.
In early Fa lectures, Master has long cautioned overseas practitioners not to go back to China. I didn't listen to Master’s words and now I am deeply repentant.
Although I maintained a low profile while I was in China and continued to send righteous thoughts and intentionally repelled the party culture influences, I still do not know how much the two trips have affected my cultivation. I can only continue to study the Fa and cultivate diligently to cleanse myself.
While coordinating and cooperating with other practitioners, I knew that conflicts would occur, but I could not consistently use the mindset of a Falun Dafa practitioner to face the conflicts. I often used the Fa to judge others and did not look inward. When I saw the passivity of some practitioners I really resented them. When I was treated unjustly or berated by a practitioner, I would be very upset despite putting up a calm front. When I was doubted by other practitioners who also refused to cooperate with me, I felt that I had been wronged.
When I was involved in Dafa projects I told myself to eliminate self-interest and work with others. However, it was very hard for me to achieve this. Sometimes, practitioners came to me to ask questions, and I would have the attachment of zealotry, feeling that I knew a lot since I am experienced. Hence, I would also take over in terms of directing and planning, and proceed according to my wish when I was in disagreement with the coordinator.
“...I want to tell you that from this day forth, the main coordinator for each project—the one principal coordinator—is that project’s representative. This holds true for the main coordinator of each region’s Dafa Association as well. He or she is its representative. Whatever it may be that the coordinator does, requires of you, or decides—carry it out unconditionally.” (“Be More Diligent” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X)
From then on, I listened to Master’s words and cooperated with others to achieve what Master requires.
Master also said:
“So how exactly should things be handled? The truth is, no person’s viewpoint is perfect, nor is any one person’s idea flawlessly brilliant. On critical things, when someone raises some issue or tries to resolve some problem, or offers suggestions for improvement, as long as we feel his starting point is sound, and that the things to be done are generally correct, we should actively support it.” (“Be More Diligent” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference X )
As I came to understand deeper meanings of the Fa I gradually put down the “self” in me and removed my negative thoughts. Regardless of what task I was assigned, be it poster pasting, selling tickets, or submitting statistics, I would put in my utmost effort no matter how mediocre the task might seem.
I would come to the venue early to set up ticket booths and send forth righteous thoughts to assist other practitioners and maximize the power of each advertisement. I would also do everything according to what was arranged by the coordinators.
With the purest mindset and a sense of urgency to save people, I feel very relaxed and the Dafa tasks are easier to complete as well. When any practitioners faced difficulties in their tasks I tried to help them out. If conflicts arise I will take a step back and assist others.
I sometimes experienced joint pain, skin lesions, migraines, and ulcers. The joint pain and lesions inhibited my most basic movements. I would have a headache when attempting to eat anything and even the slightest touch of the hand caused pain. Large skin lesions appeared around my waist, making it unbearably itchy.
When I looked within, I realized that these were created by my attachments and karma. My attitude in cultivation had slackened, and I exhibited many attachments such as wanting to sleep more, the mentality to showing off, fame, lust and personal gain.
“To tell you the truth, the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments.” (Zhuan Falun)
Some attachments are easier to give up, while others are not so easily eliminated despite being aware of them for a long time.
In recent years, I have realized the urgency to look inward and eliminate the last bit of my attachments. I make use of the travel time back and forth to work to memorize the Fa and send righteous thoughts to eliminate any wrong elements, thoughts, and karma. I think less about what other practitioners do badly, and became more willing to work with them and improve together.
I am immensely grateful for Master’s compassion. Since I am so fortunate to have become a Dafa practitioner I should do the three things well and be more diligent.